As we head into a New Year, some of us embrace this period as an opportunity to re-evaluate our lifestyle and to develop new healthier habits. Oftentimes we start with good intentions, but the journey to attaining our goals can seem overwhelming and arduous. An inherent fear of failure can lead us to question ourselves - Have I got what it takes? Will I get there? Do I have the willpower and commitment to see this through? Enjoying the payback and benefits from leading a healthier lifestyle can seem a long way off at the beginning.
This got me thinking about my own personal journey with Pilates and what helps me to stay inspired and motivated. I began my path to fitness in my early 30’s. Compared to many in the industry, I might be considered a late starter. At that time, I ran my own business, an online marketing agency in the fast-paced technology sector, and like many; from a physical standpoint; I was inactive and spent most of my days sat behind a desk.
During my early working career, I suffered from silent stress. It did not manifest itself outwardly to others, but eventually it took a toll on my health. I struggled to relax outside of work and with a family to look after too, there was very little downtime. Physically, I was not in great shape. I suffered with tumours on my ovaries and after several major operations; I decided it was time to address my work-life balance. I made a life changing decision to embrace fitness and a healthier lifestyle and since then I have not looked back.
As I started out on my journey, I felt like a fish out of water, so I began educating myself, devouring every health and wellbeing book I could get my hands on. In childhood, I considered myself not a sporty type and the thought of playing competitive team sports filled me with absolute dread. So, as I embarked on this unchartered territory, I decided to find myself a guide and a mentor who could help. Gavin was an experienced personal fitness trainer, with a strong focus on Pilates as a core foundation to exercise, who pushed me outside of my comfort zone and encouraged me to keep going. Through this early experience, I began to develop my confidence.
As I continued on my journey, I made an amazing discovery. For the first time, I learned how to tune into my body and listen to what it was trying to tell me. This process of stepping out of the mental realm where I existed in my desk job, and into my physical reality, was deeply empowering.
I discovered through Pilates that I could switch off my mind and unplug from the outside world. I became completely absorbed in what my body was feeling. Through this connection, I was able to activate and relax specific muscles, use my breath to fuel the movements and tap into my inner core strength with control. By the end of my workout, I felt mentally relaxed and physically refreshed.
There is no doubt that Pilates delivers numerous physical benefits, but for me, the draw is in how amazingly powerful it makes me feel when I am actually performing the exercise.
Leap forward to now, and my career in marketing and technology continues, alongside teaching Pilates. Best of all, I have achieved my goal of a better work-life balance and I am still making the most of my journey of self-discovery.
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